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Note: This post was created 4/9/2010 about a race which happened on 5/21/1999. IGPS was the first simracing league I ever joined and this was my second season. It should be noted that the video is created from the server replay and that my ping to the server was probably about 0.3 seconds at the time (I was located in England, the server was somewhere in the United States). This meant that the movements of the car were exaggerated and at times unrealistic to the view of the server and other drivers (some others also had a ping over 0.3s – meaning an in-race lag of 0.6s or more was common). The basic rules of the league (which changed for this second season) were that you could reset (get a fresh car) only if you did it in pitlane.

This race was supposed to be round seven, but issues with the server meant it became round five. I had missed round two at Zandvoort.

This was the third race I ever did using manual gears, the only problem was that I was doing it wrong and had no idea. I was ‘flat shifting’ – which means I was not lifting off the throttle when I clicked the upshift button on my wheel. This led to a lot of engine failures and a lot of frustration until I discovered my error later in the season.

The switch to manual gears had really unlocked my speed. My first ever race with manual gears and I put the Honda on pole position at Silverstone, second-place at the Nurburgring and at Monaco I would start fourth with a 1:30.03.

I got a great start, holding fourth out of turn one. At the top of the hill the leaders made contact and this sent one of them into my car. I eventually got away in second with John Simmons leading in the Brabham.

I closed in on John pretty quickly and just sat behind him. I felt a little bit faster but knew it was impossible to pass around this racetrack, so I decided to just settle in and wait for him to make a mistake. If I had to, I’d try to pass him later in the race.

Everything went well for six laps until John and I caught Bill Cranston’s Brabham in the hairpin. He drove into the hay to let John by and because my steering lock wasn’t great I neither saw him or could avoid him and drove into his stricken car, taking me out of the race. This was the first time I had ever felt ‘taken out’ in a race and with the frustrations of the previous events still fresh in my mind it boiled over and I expressed my annoyance in the text chat before leaving the server. John docked me 20 points, which was the right thing to do.

John also listed my retirement as engine failure, the reason was because after the contact with Bill my engine had blown. My engine was probably going to blow anyway whether I had crashed or not, but this again meant that I didn’t see the evidence telling me I was shifting badly!

The race was won by Harjan Brand in the Honda.


Watch on Youtube.

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British-born U.S. Resident, Tim Wheatley, works for Image Space Inc., a developer of driver-in-the-loop simulation technology. He lives in Illinois with his wife and children.
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